Thea's dreams for her life were crushed by the nightmare of cybersex trafficking.
We all have hopes and dreams for the future, whether it’s going to college, forging a meaningful career, or creating a better life for our children.
Thea wanted those same things. But as a young teenager, her dreams for a hope-filled future were crushed by cybersex trafficking.
The nightmare began one completely normal day after high school when Thea went to her good friend’s house to do homework.
Thea loved being invited to her friend’s home. It was a big house, warm and inviting. There was good food to eat and her friend’s mom always took an interest in Thea and told her how lovely and beautiful she was.
Exploited by a trusted friend
Coming from a large, poor family, Thea’s parents didn’t always have the time or energy to shower her with attention like her friend’s mom did. Thea felt flattered by the compliments.
Thea trusted her friend and her friend’s family.
When her friend’s mom asked Thea if she’d like to do some work for her, Thea jumped at the chance. Her father was in between jobs, and if Thea could bring home some money, she knew her parents would be pleased and proud of her.
But the “work” the mom offered Thea turned out to be abuse instead.
Thea’s friend’s mom led her to the back room of the house and locked the door.
She forced Thea to pose for sexually suggestive photos and videos that she posted online for predators to watch.
Locked in a room at the back of the house by a strong and wealthy woman whom she trusted, Thea felt hopeless and powerless. She froze in shame and terror. There was nowhere to run or hide from the abuse.
“I was scared, nervous, and confused. I did not know what to do. I felt so much pressure.”
Thea, cybersex trafficking victim
Pandemic spikes cybersex trafficking
Even before the Coronavirus pandemic, the Philippines was the epicenter of the global cybersex trafficking trade. Now, economic shutdowns and community quarantines have caused cybersex trafficking to spike exponentially.
Most often, victims of cybersex trafficking are exploited and abused by those they trust the most – like Thea and her friend’s mom.
Thea's journey to healing
Thea is now supported by 10ThousandWindows, but her trauma is deep.
Not only did the photos and videos of Thea circulate in online cybersex trafficking rings, they were also leaked out on social media. Thea was unable to finish high school because of the shame, taunting, and bullying she experienced from her classmates.
To rebuild her life Thea needs counseling and support to finish her high school diploma (a prerequisite for minimum-wage work in the Philippines) and access to a real, sustainable job.
Thea dreams of working in a real office building at a Philippines call center. She desperately wants a life free of exploitation.
Restoring the lives of cybersex trafficking victims is a big mission. But, when we work together, we can restore Thea’s life and help her find lasting safety, freedom, and hope.
Give now and help restore Thea and other victims of cybersex trafficking.
This is a true story. Due to the sensitivity of this account, the survivor’s name and image have been changed.